ICYMI: EPA's climate leaders, toxics in the food system and more

ICYMI -- "In Case You Missed It" -- is a regular Friday feature recapping the news of the week.

Time was (and not all that long ago), you could read a week's worth of articles about corporate sustainability over breakfast. The good news is that times have changed, which is also bad news: Even after duly separating the wheat from the chaff, there's more news out there than any one reader could possibly ingest, let alone digest.

That's where we come in.

Every week, we sift through the thousands of stories that cross the wires and news feeds, culling the most interesting tidbits -- and a few what-the-heck stories that caught our eye. It's a subjective experience, of course, and we welcome your comments and feedback and suggestions (send them to tips@greenbiz.com).

Here's what you may have missed this week:

Corporate Commitments

Ford announced a goal to cut waste from its automobile manufacturing 40 percent by 2016. Achieving the goal would mean that each vehicle produced would send just 13.4 pounds of waste to landfills. Meanwhile, Ford rival General Motors announced late last year that it has now made 103 facilities -- including distribution facilities and offices -- completely landfill-free.

Starbucks announced it would source 100% certified sustainable palm oil by 2015, in response to a shareholder resolution filed by Green Century. Buying certified sustainable palm oil is intended to slow the destruction of rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia in particular in exchange for palm tree plantations to source the oil. A number of companies have also committed to a similar goal, including SC Johnson, Unilever, McDonald's, and Cargill.

Marks & Spencer is expected to announce next week at the Ecobuild conference in the UK that it will "include 'green clauses' in all future property leases and retrospectively add the clauses to 70 existing leases," according to BusinessGreen. The policy is intended to disclose, and hopefully therefore improve, the environmental footprint of shopping centers and malls where it does business.

The Research Front

The heads of the hundreds of top-shelf companies that make up the Business Roundtable -- including IBM, AT&T, Johnson Controls, and Microsoft -- released "Taking Action on Energy," [PDF] a detailed outline of a comprehensive national energy strategy that would equally prioritize sustainability and economic growth and job creation. Included in the report are the group's three overarching goals for a long-term national energy policy:

  • Boost economic growth by ensuring access to affordable energy supplies and pursuing cost-effective energy efficiency measures;
  • Enhance energy security by providing an adaptable, reliable and diverse portfolio of energy resources; and
  • Promote environmental stewardship by improving energy efficiency and ensuring responsible management of natural resources.

Next page: Coming clean on greenwashing